NBA fines Rockets $150K for Howard comments during moratorium period
According to ESPN.com’s Marc Stein, the Rockets were fined $150,000 by the NBA for unauthorized comments made by team personnel about Howard during the league’s annual moratorium period.
Howard verbally committed to the Rockets on Friday, opting for the team’s $88 million offer while over a five-year, $188 million contract to return with the Los Angeles Lakers after spending just one season in L.A. The 27-year-old Howard made the decision public on his Twitter account on Friday.
Later that night, Rockets general manager Daryl Morey took to Twitter to welcome the newest member of the team: “Welcome to Houston @DwightHoward!!! Years of work by Dwight & Rockets went into this. This team is going to be special.”
Morey aslo gave an interview to CSN Houston over the weekend, to discuss the verbal agreement with Dwight Howard.
"I gave out a little whoop," said Morey told the Houston Chronicle. "A little non-presidential yell."
Meanwhile, Rockets coach Kevin McHale was also quoted discussing his expectation of Howard playing for the team, in comments made over the weekend at the Orlando Summer League.
Teams are not allowed to publically formally sign contracts or talk about potential deals during the free agency moratorium period from July 1 to July 10, since the NBA and its players’ association is using this time to conduct an audit that helps in determining the salary cap value for the coming season. The salary cap figure in turn affects the specific amounts of dollars allowed to teams for committing on players’ contracts the following league year.
The deals can only be officially signed once the moratorium is lifted past the deadline. Up until then, teams and player can only verbally agree to terms on new contracts for free agents.